Sep. 13—CUMBERLAND — In a battle of unbeatens, No.1 Allegany dominated possession and shots on its way to a 7-1 win over No. 4 Fort Hill on Tuesday at Greenway Avenue Stadium.
"I thought we started a tad bit flat then what I'm used to and what they're used to," Allegany head coach Blake Geatz said. "I told them it would be a close game. Anytime we play Fort Hill, it's gonna be high intensity. After we scored that first goal, we kinda put it into cruise control."
It was the first meeting between the teams where they both entered the game undefeated since Sept. 17, 2019. It ended in a 0-0 draw after double overtime.
"I thought we were a little overmatched," Fort Hill head coach Zach Steckman said. "I thought we fought hard. We're still a pretty young team, we've got six or seven freshmen or sophomores that start. We're an improved team, Allegany is Allegany."
The Campers (4-0) dominated possession and shots from the start. It had a 20-4 shot advantage at halftime after keeping the ball for what felt like 90% of the half.
"We got some really talented kids all over the field which really helps," Geatz said. "I've got 11 kids out there at all times and 21 kids on this team that can all hold possession of the ball with ease. I know when I'm bringing someone off the bench, the level's not dropping at all."
After the Campers had several good looks that just missed the back of the net, Allegany took the lead at the 24:07 mark when Jace Patton found Caedon Wallace for the game's opening goal.
The Sentinels (3-1) quickly responded when John Reinhardt scored off a deflection to tie the game at 1 at the 24:50 mark.
"I was proud of their fight," Steckman said. "I'm glad they didn't drop their heads. I'm glad we got an opportunity on goal. It just shows the improvement compared to last year. Last year we would've folded."
The Campers responded with two goals in less than a minute. Mason Salvadge scored an unassisted goal at 23:16 to give Allegany a 2-1 lead.
"We were a tad bit shell shocked that we were scored on," Geatz said. "We haven't conceded a lot of goals, so I was curious to see how they'd react. I think that was the kick in the butt to say they're here to play, we gotta show up too."
Less than a minute later, Salvadge connected with Riley McCutcheon at the 22:12 mark to increase the Campers lead to 3-1.
"I thought we were able to utilize two versus ones against their outside backs," Geatz said. "Even one versus ones, I'm fortunate to have some really talented kids on the wing."
Salvadge picked up another assist on a cross to Wallace for his second goal of the game at the 14:07 mark. Allegany took a 4-1 lead into halftime.
Similar to the first half, Allegany controlled possession after halftime. It finished the opening half with an 11-1 advantage in shots.
"That's just what they do," Steckman said. "They're in the right place at the right time. They move up and down the field. They're pressing on you 80 minutes a game. It is what it is, it's their game."
In the two meetings last year, the Campers won 8-0 and 18-0. Steckman said he saw progress from Fort Hill in this year's first game.
"After last year, they wanted to be better," Steckman said. "They put in the work, and it showed. But you look at a night like tonight and obviously there's still places to mature."
Allegany added three goals in the second half. Liam Mowbray assisted Salvadge at the 31:02 mark for Salvadge's second goal of the game.
"Mason's a very talented player technically," Geatz said. "He's created a lot, he's such a great player to have on the wing. In two versus ones and especially one versus ones, he's able to run at outside backs. I'd take that kid against any defender in the state."
Patton found Anthony Juarez, whose shot hit the crossbar and bounced in, at the 12-minute mark. Patton earned his second assist on a feed to Fausto Santos who scored with 18 seconds left.
The Campers finished with a 31-5 advantage in shots and 11-0 in corner kicks.
"I keep telling them, it's always good to get a win," Geatz said. "All the pressure this year is on them. I tell them every single game, I don't care who you're playing, you're getting their 110%. Everyone has the target on our backs and they've been able to take the pressure so far."
Leland Garcia started in goal for Fort Hill and recorded 15 saves. Garcia played for Steckman on the junior varsity baseball team and joined the soccer team this season.
"He's been phenomenal, he's improved from day one," Steckman said. "He's fearless, throws his body all over the place. He gave up seven goals, but he also saw 30 shots. I thought Leland was phenomenal tonight."
Eoin Mowbray started in goal for Allegany and made five saves.
Both teams will play Southern in their next game. Allegany travels to Oakland to play the Rams on Thursday at 7 p.m. while Fort Hill will wait nearly two weeks before hosting Southern on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m.
"It always feels good to beat Fort Hill," Geatz said. "I was very impressed with how they responded to us going up 1-0. The heart's there, they got a lot of heart and I can respect that."
Jordan Kendall is a Sports Writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @JKendallCTN.